Saturday, February 23, 2008

Chinese incursions

Noting that there were different perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh, Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor has said India would be "as much blameworthy" as the Chinese side for incursions on the two sides.

He, however, said that border infrastructure on the Chinese side was better than that of India, giving them an "additional capability to bring additional troops", and the Indian government is "seriously looking" into this "disparity".

"I think a degree of misperception has been built on this issue of incursions.. First and foremost, it is a matter of perception. The Chinese have a different perception of the LAC as do we. When they come up to their perception, we call it an incursion and likewise they do," Kapoor said in an interview on a private news channel.

He said that the level of total number of incursions in 2007 is "somewhat similar to what it has been in the past. So, the feeling that too many incursions have taken place into Indian territory is not right."

Asked whether Indian troops also incur into Chinese territory as often because of differences of perception about the LAC, the army chief replied: "That's right... Which they would call an incursion into their side. So, therefore, to that extent, we would be as much blameworthy for that kind of incursion up to our perceived LAC."

Kapoor dismissed media perception that Chinese incursion were a sign of muscle-flexing by Beijing indicating something worse to come. (PTI)

Credit: Headlines India
New Delhi, Saturday, February 23, 2008 (15:06:58)

Friday, February 22, 2008

ICICI Prudential hires ESM

Mumbai-based private life insurer ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co Ltd has started hiring former Servicemen as unit managers in rural areas, said a top company official here. Finding it difficult to get the required manpower, the company decided to tap the retired non-commissioned officers' segment, N.S. Kannan, executive director of the company, told the media here Thursday.

He said the company has signed an agreement with STRIVE (Skills, Training and Research in Vocational Education) to offer the former Servicemen six weeks' training and give the successful candidates a Certificate of Insurance Management (CIM). Kannan said retired armed forces personnel who are graduates and have completed ten years of service are eligible for enrolling into the CIM programme. All the successful candidates get jobs as unit managers.

The unit managers have to manage around 25 insurance agents and get paid a mix of salary and incentives based on sales. ICICI Prudential Life has hired about 230 retired army personnel under the scheme across the country, 48 percent of them belonging to southern India. 'Around three percent of our premium comes from rural areas,' Kannan said. Of its total 260,000 agents, around 30,000 are in the rural areas.

Capitalised heavily at Rs.33.62 billion, ICICI Prudential Life derives nearly 90 percent of its new premium from selling unit-linked insurance policies. However, the company's average premium per policy (APPP) is around Rs.20,000. Agreeing that it is comparatively lower than other competitors, Kannan said, 'Sixtythree percent of our new business is generated by individual agents and the balance is contributed by alternate channels comprising of banks, corporate agents and others, for other players, bancassurance partners fetch in bulk of their business.'

The company has four major banks- ICICI Bank, Federal Bank, Bank of India and South Indian Bank and 18 cooperative banks as its bancassurance partners. Bancassurance is the sale of insurance products through bank branches. Queried about the agency churn experienced by the company, Kannan said, 'Typically 75 percent of the agency force fades away four years after recruitment.' The large churn not only affects the insurer in terms of increased hiring costs but also the customers because they will not be serviced.

ICICI Prudential
Friday 22nd February, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

IIM- Lucknow Courses for Armed Forces

The Indian Institute of Management-Lucknow (IIM-L) Tuesday started a six-month special management programme for defence officers of India.

Sixty-five officers from the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force have been enrolled for the programme.

"The purpose of the programme is to provide them (defence officers) with basic functional inputs - finance and accounting, human resource management, marketing, information technology and communication skills - and to familiarize them with requisite analytical tools and techniques and develop a hollistic perspective and a global mindset to understand issues of an enterprise."

According to Kumar, the DGR directorate, of the Indian Army was highly impressed by the success of the earlier programmes. The exercise is bound to be mutually beneficial to both the officers undergoing this course as well as to the corporate houses where they take up employment as ESM.

Wednesday, February 20, SiliconIndia News
SiliconIndia News

Paradox of our time

It sounds really amazing that George Carlin - comedian of the 70's and 80's - could write something so very eloquent, and so very appropriate. This is something wonderful. Please take time to go through it.

A Message by George Carlin

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

PT Gangadharan(Guards)
Brig (Retd)


AP Photo by Mukhtar Khan
Indian army soldiers stand guard on top of a ski slope on the first day of the 5th National Winter Games in Gulmarg, some 55 kilometers (34 miles) from Srinagar, India, Monday, Feb. 18, 2008.

Indian Army recruits from high altitude warfare school practice at the ski resort of Gulmarg on February 18, 2008. The ski resort was abuzz with activity as India's national winter games kicked off in Gulmarg, which is closer to the defacto border dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
Credit Getty Images

Himalayan Challenge
It takes escaping death to feel alive, especially if we have survived a tenure in a glacier, a battlefield, enemy encounter, a fatal terrorist attack or other accidents. Mountaineers who actively seek danger climbing to conquer the peaks are the notable ones who dance with human endurance, a conscious thrill of sensation, with the hidden sub conscious joy of cheating death. Looking for and seeking, out- of- the- world- experiences,with unfettered, unsupervised, wild, thrilling and scary emotions. Mountaineers want to be superhuman.
We too share silently the super status. We also think they are insane, especially, when they say goodbye to fellow extreme adventurists who have died on the mountains and still take the plunge. We continue to affirm life's treacherous adventure, even as all of us rebound with joy at unimaginable feats of endurance, and secretly applaud them pushing the envelope of immortality even further.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A healing touch for the War Wounded

Project Healing Touch began in the aftermath of the Kargil War and marked a mutually beneficial partnership between former Armed Force Members (war wounded) and PepsiCo. Under the auspices of the project, Mission Vijay 2 helps rehabilitate former service men by providing them with sustainable employment opportunities.

In their new roles as distributors, sub-distributors, salesmen or trolley vending distributors for PepsiCo, these ESM enjoy stable and sustainable incomes. Currently in its sixth year, the project employs 38 distributors in rural and urban markets nationwide.

Their outstanding achievements are clear reflections of their perseverance and hard work. In 2006, this new team of distributors earned a gross income of nearly Rs. 20 lakhs and sold over 2.8 lakh cases of PepsiCo's refreshment beverages.

Sepoy Om Prakash is an example of the numerous physically challenged ESM who have been touched by this innovative project. A native of Pali in Faridabad, Om lost his left leg in a bomb blast in Kargil. Worried about the bleak livelihood options, the project has provided him with an unexpectedly bright future. Through Project Healing Touch, Om established and continues to manage an agency that sells PepsiCo products.

PepsiCo hopes to substantially expand this initiative, touching 200 ESM by 2008.

website: PepsiCo

Comments, Clarifications and Caution

All war wounded personnel or widows are advised to to seek professional advice and assistance from the War Wounded Foundation where membership and services are free. The contact details are given below:

War Wounded Foundation
AADI , 2 Balbir Saxena Marg, Hauz Khas, New Delhi- 110016
Telephone 011- 65799988
Web site: War Wounded

Project Healing Touch as envisaged by PepsiCo is no doubt for a noble cause to give employment and succour to the physically challenged and war wounded soldiers. However, anyone acting on behalf of PepsiCo, as a tout, broker or self appointed director of the "Project Healing Touch", and calling for War wounded to enrol for a fee is a business ploy to cheat the war wounded soldiers. Simple soldiers as they are, who cannot distinguish between social work and those trying to make money out of their disability, cannot discern a conman from a reputed social organisation. All ESM are requested to spread the message so that the war wounded and widows are not taken for a ride, draining their already meagre financial resource causing further misery, bitterness and agony.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Battle to corner decisive votes of ESM

A battle within a battle. The Congress and BJP in Uttarakhand are trying hard to corner a sizeable chunk of votes belonging to ESM and their families, which could prove decisive in the Pauri Lok Sabha by- poll.

With less than 10 days remaining for the polls, both the parties are trying to woo this section of voters. There are also a significant number of voters belonging to ex- para military personnel and their families in the constituency.

The February 24 contest is crucial for Congress candidate Satpal Maharaj and BJP's TPS Rawat. A former Congressman and retired Lieutenant General, Rawat is contesting the seat vacated by Chief Minister BC Khanduri, who is a retired Major General.

ESM and their families are the single largest section of voters in this constituency spread across Dehradun, Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Pauri districts in the Garhwal region of the state. Their votes had played a significant role in getting Khanduri elected four times to the Lok Sabha from this seat in 1991, 1998, 1999 and 2004 and would be crucial during this by- poll too.

According to estimates, there are nearly 27,000 serving defence personnel, over 54,000 ex-servicemen and nearly 81,000 widows of ex-servicemen in the Pauri constituency at present. In order to counter the combined might of Khanduri and Rawat, the Congress is planning to use the services of Lt Gen Gambhir Singh Negi (Retd), a former Commandant of Indian Military Academy and chairman of State Public Services Commission, who joined the party recently. Negi along with other members of the Uttarakhand Pradesh Ex-servicemen Congress, the ESM unit of the party, would tour the constituency from February 16 and ask voters to support Maharaj.

"A true soldier is known for his loyalty and trust. By switching loyalties from the Congress to BJP without giving any credible reason, Lt Gen TPS Rawat has betrayed those in the party who trusted and gave him such affection," said Negi.

Meanwhile, the BJP has received support from the Uttarakhand unit of All India ex-Para Military Personnel Association that decided on Thursday to canvass for Lt Gen TPS Rawat (Retd) in view of his clean image and services as Director General of Assam Rifles. There are nearly one lakh voters of para- military forces and their families which includes BSF, CRPF, ITBP, SSB, Assam Rifles, CISF in the constituency.

"No party can ignore such a vast number of voters," said SS Kothiyal, president of the unit.

Hindustan Times
Indian Express

It is heartening to see many Generals entering the election fray. Army Generals as leaders, once elected should evince more interest in developmental works, which should be geared up like operations of war, combating poverty, building infrastructure, ensuring clean water, and providing sound education for the masses. True Leadership in Democracy needs instilling and enforcing abundant discipline in every sphere of life. Kudos to our Indian Army Generals who will make an impact in the future destiny of India.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sharpen Critical Thinking Skills

What intellectuals say
  • Mahatma Gandhi. It is unwise to be sure of one's wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest weaken and wisest err.
  • Carl von Clausewitz. Military strategist says critical thinking is ability to keep one's head at times of exceptional stress and violent emotion.
  • Sherlock Holmes. Problems may be solved in the study which have baffled all those who have sought a solution by the aid of their senses. To carry the art, however, to its highest pitch, it is necessary that the reasoner should be able to utilize all the facts which have come to his knowledge, and this in itself implies, as you will readily see, a possession of all knowledge, which, even in these days of free education and encyclopaedias, is a somewhat rare accomplishment.
  • Sir Francis Bacon. A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
  • Dr Abdul Kalam. The three teachers in my life; what did they give me? In an integrated way it can be said, that any enlightened human being can be created by three unique characteristics. One is moral value system. That I got from my father the hard way. Secondly, the teacher becoming a role model. Not only does the student learn, but the teacher shapes his life with great dreams and aims. Finally, the education and learning process has to culminate in the creation of professional capability leading to confidence and will power to make a design, to make a product, to make a system, bravely combating many problems. What a fortune and blessing I had from my three teachers.

  • Are you a crictical thinker. Do you......?
  • ask pertinent questions
  • assesses statements and arguments
  • admit a lack of understanding or information
  • have a sense of curiosity
  • lack interest in finding new solutions
  • clearly define or spell out a set of criteria for analyzing ideas
  • examine beliefs, assumptions, and opinions and weigh them against facts
  • listen carefully to others and is able to give feedback
  • see that critical thinking is a lifelong process of self-assessment
  • suspend judgment until all facts have been gathered and considered
  • look for evidence to support assumption and beliefs
  • adjust to opinions when new facts are found
  • look for proof
  • examine problems closely
  • reject information that is incorrect or irrelevant
  • Sunday, February 17, 2008

    Disability Pension

    Refusal to pay disability pension
    In an order which would benefit a large number of armed forces personnel, the Supreme Court has ruled that disabled soldiers who opt pre-mature retirement at their own request are entitled to disability pension. Defence personnel with disabilities attributable to or aggravated by military service are eligible for disability pension. The government, however, had been refusing payment of disability pension to personnel who had left the forces voluntarily on compassionate grounds. The reason given for denial was that such personnel were technically not deemed to have been invalidated out of service.

    Supreme Court Ruling

    There is need for Armed Forces to have a more humane approach towards soldiers disabled or physically challenged while in service. Most of the rules are bureaucratic and applied to individual cases without any logic. The decision making process has whittled down to notings by babus and signed by the concerned Officer. Normally civil suits from Defence Personnel ideally should be zero. Recent emerging trends we have seen from the media is that, civil cases of Defence Personnel seeking judicial justice is ascending in geometric progression. This is adversely affecting the image of the Armed Forces in general. There is urgent need for in house examination and introspection to correct the adverse and declining public image of the Defence Forces, in spite, of the PRO doing a magnificent job of painting a positive picture.

    Gorkhas in the Indian Army

    Gorkha ESM
    The salary and other benefits received by Gorkhas from Nepal in the Indian Army are the same as provided to their Indian counterparts. Many Indian Gorkha ESM living in Pokhara and Jhapa in Nepal and from Bhutan, admit this. They receive exactly identical extended facilities received by Indian soldiers. The ESM of Indian Army living in Nepal are provided welfare support comparable to what is available to their Indian counterparts. According to the same source, the Gorkhas in the Indian Army receive over Rs 6 billion (600 crores) per annum as salary.

    A large proportion of this amount is repatriated into Nepal as the serving soldiers are provided free ration, accommodation, medical benefits, educational facilities, and so on. Indian Army disburses approx Rs 5000 million as pension to 0.103 million ESM living in Nepal every year. The direct benefits received by the Nepali nationals in the Indian Army and ESM living in Nepal exceed Rs 11 billion per annum. This amount is more than the total foreign grants received by Nepalese Government each year as budgetary support.

    Historical roots.
    Gorkha Battalions in the Indian Army are well known for their bravery and are respected worldwide for their battlefield skills. They are royal warriors and remain undefeatable. We are proud of their noble achievements.

    Honourable Farewell to ESM

    Jammu, February 6: To ensure that the last rites of ex-servicemen are performed with honour and dignity, the Indian Army is roping in the services of CSD canteens across the country.

    Once the news of the demise of the ex-serviceman reaches the nearest CSD canteen, officials will make all arrangements for the last rites. A wreath will also be laid on the body on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff. All that the ex-servicemen have to do is register their wish for availing of the scheme with the local CSD canteen.

    This scheme will benefit especially those who are abandoned by their near and dear ones. It will also be of use to ex-servicemen facing financial problems.

    ‘‘There is a provision for a fund in the proposal to perform the last rites. Usually, the expenditure for the last rites comes to Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000,’’ Adjutant General of the Indian Army Lt Gen Anup Singh Jamwal told The Indian Express.

    ‘‘Army canteens which earn lakhs of rupees as profit every year, can easily arrange for the last rites of ex-servicemen and their widows,’’ he added. Lt Gen Jamwal was in Jammu to attend the ex-servicemen’s rally held at Sunjawan Cantt.

    Lt Gen Jamwal said those who want to avail of this scheme, will have to register themselves with their nearest CSD canteen. The scheme will be extended to widows of ex-servicemen as well, he added.

    ‘‘With children no longer preferring to stay with their parents, and relatives also deserting them, this scheme will ensure that the last rites of veteran soldiers are performed with full honour, which they deserve,’’ he said adding that the last rites will be performed according to the status of the ex-serviceman.

    The Adjutant General said that CSD canteens have been selected to provide the service of ‘‘assured decent last rites’’ as they have a ready data base of ex-servicemen, their addresses and phone numbers.

    Director, Sainik Welfare Department, Brig Karan Singh Kotwal (retd) said that there is another existing scheme under which the next of kin of ex-servicemen are provided a sum of Rs 3,000 for last rites through the nearest station headquarter.

    ‘‘This new scheme is good for the ex-servicemen living alone or facing financial problems,’’ Brig Kotwal said. ‘‘Now, they will have the assurance that after their demise, the Indian Army is there to arrange for their last rites with honour and dignity. The Army has already issued instructions to all the formations about the scheme,’’ he added.
    Webpage Army plans honourable farewell for its ESM

    Amazing that CSD India canteens have a ready data base of ESM with address and phone numbers. I wonder if thay have the complete data base of about 20 lakh ESM all over India. If they have the list it is truly a gold mine of information for the DGR Dte.
    See post titled "All India ESM population" which gives a broad distribution pattern.


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